A J Mundella Portrait and Bust Rescue and Restoration

For most of its life the portrait of the Mundella Grammar School’s founder had hung on the walls of the School. Then for many years it was hidden away at the Roland Green School, now Nottingham Emmanuel at Wilford. 

In 2009 the Bromley House Library took delivery of the painting and bust, agreeing to display them both, and thus began a fundraising campaign to restore the dirty, damaged portrait and frame, and the grimy bust. As the Library was already in the process of funding repair of its own collection of paintings, it was decided to contact Old Mundellans using the online Mundella Honours Board, Friends Reunited, and Facebook, to raise funds.

Four hundred and seventy emails later over £1,355 was donated to the fund (with Gift Aid the sum rose to £1,675).

The painting had, for some time, been attributed to the artist Sir Arthur Stockdale Cope but without evidence of a signature it was difficult to validate this. Then Dick Powell, the restorer, discovered exactly that.  The signature of A. J. Black. Arthur John Black (1855-1936) exhibited at the R.A, the ROI, and was a member of the Nottingham Society of Artists. The marble bust of AJ Mundella is by the sculptor Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm 1834-90 and was commissioned in recognition of his work for the poor and paid for by subscription from thousands of factory workers from Hine and Mundella, chiefly women and children.